“The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn” by Lori Benton is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. The story takes place in Morganton, North Carolina, on the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains.
Tamsen Littlejohn is basically on the auction block, if her stepfather, Hezekiah Parrish, has his way and forces her to marry a man of his choosing, Mr. Ambrose Kincaid. Tamsen’s mother just tries to make sure that her husband keeps calm and persuades Tamsen to do what he has ordered. Tamsen agrees to meet this man and flirt her way into a marriage proposal, but that is before she witnesses his treatment of one of his slaves. Tamsen is an abolitionist and abhors that kind of treatment of any human being. She decides then and there to flee her stepfather’s reach.
Jesse Bird and his partner, Cade, who is a half-Delaware, have just arrived in Morganton to deliver cattle from homesteaders west of the Appalachians. They are planning to escort some more settlers to the western lands. They plan to leave as soon as they can get the families prepared.
Jesse comes across Tamsen trying to flee in the middle of the night, but is caught by her stepfather. Tamsen again flees after her mother is killed by the brutish Mr. Parrish. Jesse and Cade agree to help Tamsen get away but are pursued by Mr. Parrish and Mr. Kincaid. Thus begins the tale.
I was so anxious reading this novel because I didn't want to stop. Characters living in the 1780s and the land that they live in is very interesting to me. I wasn’t sure what to expect next. Sometimes you can just guess what is coming, but in this novel that is not the case. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes historical fiction or romance. What a great read!
Frontier dangers cannot hold a candle to the risks one woman takes by falling in love
In an act of brave defiance, Tamsen Littlejohn escapes the life her harsh stepfather has forced upon her. Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, she enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watauga settlement in western North Carolina. But shedding her old life doesn’t come without cost. As the two cross a vast mountain wilderness, Tamsen faces hardships that test the limits of her faith and endurance.
Convinced that Tamsen has been kidnapped, wealthy suitor Ambrose Kincaid follows after her, in company with her equally determined stepfather. With trouble in pursuit, Tamsen and Jesse find themselves thrust into the conflict of a divided community of Overmountain settlers. The State of Franklin has been declared, but many remain loyal to North Carolina. With one life left behind and chaos on the horizon, Tamsen struggles to adapt to a life for which she was never prepared. But could this challenging frontier life be what her soul has longed for, what God has been leading her toward? As pursuit draws ever nearer, will her faith see her through the greatest danger of all—loving a man who has risked everything for her?